MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: is nickel used in the process of making aluminum cans?

Date: Sun Mar 4 10:07:28 2001
Posted By: Don Schaffner, Faculty, Food Science, Rutgers University
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 983330918.Eg

This is really a very interesting question.  It took me more than an hour 
to research it, but I learned a few things in the process.

The first point I should make is that scientists don't agree on whether 
nickel in foods really causes a problem in people sensitive to nickel 
(Veien NK. Ingested food in systemic allergic contact dermatitis. Clinics 
in Dermatology. 15(4):547-55, 1997). This same point is also noted on the 

Another webpage from a fairly reputable site (Mayo Clinic Foundation)
( indicated that 
soda would not be a problem for nickel sensitive people, while "Chocolate 
and cocoa drinks, tea from dispensers" should be avoided.

I could find no evidence that aluminum cans contain any significant amount 
of nickel.

So do you have a nickel allergy *from* drinking soda? ... Probably not.  
Should you avoid soda because it would aggravate your contact dermatitis 
nickel allergy? ... Probably not.  Should you avoid certain foods if you 
have a nickel allergy? ... Maybe, but the science on this point is still 
in its infancy.  The foods to be avoided can be found on the Mayo 
Foundation webpage above.

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